Social Security Disability Resource Center

Overview | How to Qualify | Applications
Requirements | How long it takes | Back Pay
Mental Disability | What is a disability? | Tips
SSI Benefits | How to Win | Disability Awards
Hearings | Appeals | List of Disabling Conditions

What is the process for approving a Social Security disability claim?

The process for approving a Social Security disability claim involves many steps.

First you must file a Social Security and/or SSI disability claim. You might go to your local Social Security office, call the toll free Social Security number (1-800-772-1213), or you may even go online to file a disability claim. However, should you choose to file for Social Security disability online, you will not be able to file an SSI claim. At this time, SSI applications are not available online.

Consequently, after submitting information online for SSI (this is considered a lead and not an actual application), the local Social Security office will contact you to set up a time to talk to you about potential SSI benefits and other documentation required for your disability claim.

If you do not hear from a Social Security representative in a reasonable amount of time, you may want to call the local Social Security office to check the status of the disability claim.

Once an application has been taken for Social Security disability, the claim will be forwarded to the state disability agency (which is responsible for making medical disability determinations for the Social Security Administration) for a medical determination.

Remember that disability is based on your inability to work and earn a substantially gainful income due to your medical condition (or conditions) for a period that has lasted twelve months, or is expected to last twelve months.

Many factors are considered in the medical determination such as what your work activity has been for the past fifteen years, your age, your medical conditions, and what functional limitations have been caused by your medical condition or conditions.

If your Social Security disability claim has been denied, you may appeal the medical decision within sixty days (plus five days for mailing) of your denial notice. The second level of the disability claims process is known as reconsideration or review (it currently goes by different names depending on which state you live in).

Do not become discouraged if you are not allowed at this level, as only a small percentage of disability denials are reversed at this level. Of course, you will once again have sixty days (plus five mailing days) to appeal your disability denial.

The third level of the disability approval process is known as the hearing request. At a Social Security disability hearing, you will have your disability claim reviewed by an administrative law judge (ALJ). Also, you will be able to present your case and explain how your medical conditions have caused you to be unable to work at a substantial level.

Keep in mind that the ALJ has the ability to take more factors into consideration while making a medical determination than the state agency disability examiners have at their discretion.

Sometimes it is difficult to objectively present your own disability case, therefore you may wish to have a representative present your case facts to the judge. Statistics seem to indicate that disability claimants with representation are more likely to receive a medical allowance or approval at a disability hearing, particularly if they are represented.

  • What medical conditions will get you approved for disability?

  • What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?

  • Which conditions will social security recognize as a disability?

  • Tips for getting Social Security Disability or SSI benefits approved

  • SSDRC Homepage:

    Social Security Disability and SSI Resource Center

    The Most Basic questions about Getting Disability Benefits

    Social Security Disability SSI and whether or not you can work

    Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

    Social Security Disability SSI Questions and Answers

    More Social Security Disability SSI Questions and Answers

    Common Questions about Social Security Disability and SSI

    Winning Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits

    The SSI Disability Benefits Program

    Medical exams for disability claims

    Applying for Disability in various states

    Social Security Disability SSI and Doctors - Yours and Theirs

    Social Security Disability and SSI Claim Reviews

    Social Security Disability SSI System and Benefits for Children

    Denials, Appeals, and Getting a Disability Lawyer or Representative

    What you should know about Social Security Disability and SSI Denials

    Questions about Disability Lawyers and Hiring a Disability Attorney

    Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits

    FAQ on Disability Claim Representation

    Disability hearings before Judges

    Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers

    Various Types of Benefits including SSI, Mental, and Child benefits

    Social Security and SSI based on Mental Disability

    Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits for Children

    Disability Benefits through Social Security

    Filing for Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits

    Social Security Disability SSI: Medical Evidence and Records

    Filing your claim for disability benefits

    Eligibility for receiving disability benefits

    Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved

    FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions

    The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration

    Resources on this site

    Social Security Disability, SSI Terms and Definitions

    Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI

    For Individuals living in North Carolina

    Applying for Disability in North Carolina

    North Carolina Disability Lawyer

    Related pages:

    How are Social Security Disability cases decided? - the Process Social Security Uses In Every Disability Case
    What is the process for approving a Social Security disability claim?
    Filing for Disability - Can you speed up the Social Security Disability process?
    Why is the Social Security Disability Decision Process So Slow?
    Crucial Information about the Social Security Disability Application Process and SSI
    Disability Claims Through Social Security How Long is the Process?
    The Social Security disability award notice process in North Carolina
    How to qualify for disability - The Process of Qualifying for Benefits
    Social Security Disability SSI Criteria and the Evaluation Process
    The Social Security Disability Approval Process and the Criteria for Decisions
    Why do I keep getting denied for disability?
    How long does it take to get a decision on disability in California?
    How to apply for SSI Disability in California
    How much does it cost to hire a Social Security Disability attorney in California?

    These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

    Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
    How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
    Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?
    What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?
    How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
    How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
    Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
    Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria